Last modified: 2003-07-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: manche | granville | cross (white) | stars: 3 (yellow) |
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by Arnaud Leroy
Source: Pascal Vagnat
Granville is a city of 15,000 inhabitants. Granville was built on
a rocky point (Pointe du Roc) dominating the Channel, and was
therefore nickamed "the Northern Monaco". It is
said that the first settlement in Granville was founded around year
1000 by a Viking called Gran. However, a more probable etymology is
grande villa (important city), a name which appeared in the
beginning of the XVth century when the fortified city was built.
In 1439, Sir Thomas Scales was ordered by King of England Henry V to build a fortified city which could be used as an operational base against Mont-Saint-Michel. At the time, the fortified abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel was the only place in Normandy to resist the English conquest. Unfortunately, Granville was seized by surprise by the French three years later.
The city was granted a municipal charter by King of France Charles VII in March 1445. The city was besieged by the English fleet in 1695 and 1803 and by the Vendean army in 1793, to no avail. Granville was a corsair city, for a while a rival of Saint-Malo, with the famous corsairs Beaubriand-Lévesque, Hautmesnil-Hugon and Pléville-Lepelley. Seventeen French admirals were born in Granville.
From the XVIth to the beginning of the XXth century, Granville mostly lived from cod fishing in Newfoundland. There were more than 100 boats and 5,000 seamen. The yearly fishing campaign started with a carnival which still takes place in Granville. In May 1945, a German commando coming from Jersey attempted to enter the city, to no avail.
Granville is now a passenger port (140,000 passengers per year to the Chausey and Channel Islands) and the fourth French fishing port. Due to the specific local weather conditions, a center for functional rehabilitation and thalassotherapy was founded. Granville was already known as a sea resort in the XIXth century.
The Chausey Islands, located 17 km off Granville, belong to the municipality of Granville. It is said locally than 52 islets and rocks (1 per week) are visible during high tides and 365 (1 per year) during low tides. Shell and oyster farming was recently developped on the islands.
The famous top designer Christian Dior, inventor of the new look style spent his youth in Granville. His house Les Rhumbs is now a museum.
Ivan Sache, 26 August 2002
The flag of Granville is divided by a white cross. The first and fourth quarters of the flag are blue, whereas the second and the third quarters are white and separated from the cross by a blue fimbriation. The municipal coat of arms is placed in the middle of the flag.
Ivan Sache, 26 August 2002